A huge THANK YOU to everyone at the Association of Programs for Rural Independent Living (APRIL) for another wonderful conference. Even though we couldn’t be together in person this year, everyone here at RTC:Rural appreciated that we were still able to connect and come together as a community. Thank you to everyone who participated in the conference!
For those with conference logins, recordings of the presentations can be found on the 2020 APRIL Conference website, on the Agenda page.
This year the 26th annual Association of Programs for Rural Independent Living (APRIL) conference “2020 and Beyond: Building the Next Generation of IL” is online, and will be held October 12-16. We are proud to be part of this year’s conference to continue our work alongside APRIL and the Centers for Independent Living it represents.
Registration, a draft agenda, and other information can be found on the APRIL website.
To help better understand PAS worker experiences, the Rural Personal Assistance Worker Project Team is recruiting PAS workers in Alaska, Arizona, and Montana to take pictures of their daily work experiences.
The Rural Community Living Development (RCLD) project is a knowledge translation grant funded by the National Institute on Disability, Independent Living and Rehabilitation Research (NIDILRR). RTC:Rural staff have partnered with the Association of Programs for Rural Independent Living (APRIL) to develop and implement a peer to peer mentor training with and for Centers for Independent Living (CILs) that will prepare CIL staff to work on community development activities in rural areas. The project includes helping communities identify, access and use NIDILRR-funded products and resources that can address the most important community issues for increased independence and participation (such as access to accessible housing or transportation) of people with disabilities in their rural communities.
The Rural Community Living Development project team explains the project and gives a quick progress update.
With so many community events going online, it’s still important to remember to make sure they are accessible. While our newest toolkit was designed for use at both indoor and outdoor rural community events, there are many considerations that also apply to online events as well. The spirit of community inclusion, support and connection carries on until once again it is safe for us to gather in person at community events.
Looking for ways to help make community events more accessible? Check out RTC:Rural’s newest toolkit, the Community Assessment for Accessible Rural Events (or CAARE)Toolkit. The toolkit was created to help community members make sure their rural community events are accessible and inclusive. It includes resources such as checklists of accessibility issues and tools that help advocates conduct surveys and collect feedback from event attendees. The toolkit also contains materials with step-by-step instructions on how to analyze that feedback so it can be shared with event organizers.
and event organizers can use this toolkit to work together to plan for
accessibility, identifying realistic accessibility goals and using a simple
survey tool at the event to learn how people experience accessibility,” said
Dr. Rayna Sage, RTC:Rural Project Director.
The newly funded project, Rural Community Living Development
(RCLD), is led by Rural Sociologist and Project Director Dr. Rayna Sage, and
Dr. Craig Ravesloot, Clinical Psychologist and Research Director for the
Research and Training Center on Disability in Rural Communities (RTC:Rural).
The purpose of the Rural Community Living Development
project is to provide space and facilitate conversations among community
members to help them connect to resources and information they might not
otherwise have access to.
Using a combination of independent living philosophy, peer mentoring and community development approaches, research staff will work with Centers for Independent Living (CILs) to take collective action that leads to positive change for and with people with disabilities living in rural areas.
Harnessing the theme of this year’s conference, Project
Directors Dr. Rayna Sage and Lillie Greiman, Director of Knowledge Translation
Tracy Boehm Barrett, and Research Advisor Dr. Craig Ravesloot will give a
presentation titled, “Using Rural IL Power to Address the Needs of People with
Disabilities Living in Poverty.” In their presentation, they will discuss how
poverty affects Independent Living (IL), rural resources that Centers for
Independent Living (CILs) can leverage to help address poverty, and how
community development strategies can address poverty among people with
disabilities living in their community. Dr. Sage will also briefly describe a number
of new opportunities for CILs to get involved in RTC:Rural’s research and rural
community development projects to address local issues that affect IL services.
Approximately 10 million
people with disabilities receive paid personal assistance services (PAS) in the
United States. For many, these services are critical for social and community
participation. However, little is known about rural-urban differences in PAS
delivery and consumption, and how these services influence community
participation and health.
To address this lack of understanding, RTC:Rural is conducting research on PAS in rural America.
Dr. Rayna Sage, RTC:Rural Project Director, and Erin Flores,
a former sociology undergraduate researcher at the University of Montana who
graduated in 2018, recently co-authored a book chapter on the accessibility of
rural community events. The chapter, titled “Disability and rural events: The cultural reproduction of inclusion and
exclusion” is in Marginalisation and Events, which
was published in January 2019 by Routledge.
“Rural community events are a time when community members
are able to see how they are part of something bigger than their own individual
experience,” said Sage. “Seeing friends and family and participating in
activities that promote community identity helps sustain community and